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Safran Unveils High-Power Engine for Super-Medium, Heavy Helos

By James T. McKenna | October 3, 2017

Safran Aneto engine

Safran Aneto engine. Photo courtesy of Safran

Safran Helicopter Engines unveiled a new, 2,500 to 3,000-plus shp engine family for super-medium and heavy helicopters, with its first application on Leonardo Helicopters' AW189.

The Aneto high-power turboshaft family, presented today at Helitech International in London, fulfills the strategy of Safran (then Turbomeca) in buying out Rolls-Royce's 50% stake in the RTM322 engine program in 2013 and positions the French OEM to compete for contracts to power new generations of super-medium and heavy helicopters.

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The AW189 is powered by the General Electric CT7-2E1 turboshaft. The U.S. Army is pursuing development of a 3,000-shp turboshaft for future Black Hawks, Apaches and other vertical-flight aircraft, with a Pratt & Whitney/Honeywell vying with GE for that work. Safran's Aneto could be a competitor in that market, at least in some applications. (Its partnership with Rolls-Royce on the RTM322, which powers some Apaches and the EH01 and NH90, restricted Safran's ability to pursue opportunities in the 3,000-shp market segment.)

Safran said the Aneto incorporates technologies developed as part of the Safran Helicopter Engines R&D roadmap and its Tech 3000 technological demonstrator initiative. Tech 3000 supported Safran 's validation of designs and technologies capable of delivering up to 15% better fuel economy over today’s high-power engine models, the company said, adding that those technologies would be incorporated gradually into Aneto models.

The Aneto "is the result of a long and sustained strategy of technology acquisition and maturation," said Safran Helicopter Engines President Bruno Even in announcing the engine launch at Helitech International in London. "We are convinced that the Aneto will offer a new level of performance coupled with reduced operating costs.”

Even said the first Aneto, a 2,500-shp version (the Aneto-1K), made its maiden flight last March on the twin-engine AW189, and it is scheduled to gain certification and go into service on that aircraft (dubbed the AW189K) in the fourth quarter of 2018.

"This new turboshaft engine will offer our customers a high level of performance and further extend the capabilities and versatility of our super-medium platform, particularly in hot and high conditions," said Leonardo Helicopters' new managing director, Gian Piero Cutillo. "Operators will also benefit from Safran’s longstanding experience in the helicopter market as well as from its strong worldwide support network.”

Safran said the Aneto's power-to-volume ratio will give it 25% greater power than existing engines of the same volume, contributing to increased mission capabilities for such missions as offshore, search and rescue, firefighting and military transport.

The new engine carries on Safran's long tradition of naming engines after geographic features in the Pyrenees mountains, which overlook the company's Bordes, France, headquarters. Arriel is a famous peak near the French-Spanish border. Arrius is the name of a high-altitude lake, and Makila refers to a traditional Basque walking stick. The new 1,100-to-1,300 shp engine, the Arrano, is named after a majestic black eagle featured in Basque folklore.

Aneto is the name of the highest mountain in the Pyrenees, which reaches a height of 11,168 feet.

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